Giroud replaces Platini as France's second-highest scorer, Ronaldo underwhelms



Olivier Giroud #9 of France celebrate his second goal with team-mates during the international friendly match between France and Ukraine at Stade de France on October 7, 2020 in Paris, France.

For Olivier Giroud, there's no better way of celebrating his 100th appearance for France.   

On a night filled with unbridled joy and entertaining attacking football, the 34-year-old veteran striker effortlessly netted twice in a 7-1 demolition of Ukraine, becoming the second-highest goalscorer in France's history by overtaking Michel Platini with 42 goals. 

"I feel a lot of pride; it's a great honor for me, and I'm happy it happened for my 100th cap," beamed an emotional Giroud, who later revealed in his post-game interview that Ukraine's head coach Andriy Shevchenko had been his childhood idol.

"I'm excited I did it in front of Shevchenko. He was one of my favorite players, if not my most favored when I was a teenager," Giroud said in reference to the trophy-laden AC Milan legend.  

"I'll just carry on and see how far it goes," the Chelsea star added. 

Now the only player stands in front of him is Thierry Henry, who leads with 51 goals in 123 caps. Judging by Giroud's current fine form, it won't be long before he surpasses the former Arsenal icon.

Giroud is accustomed to keeping a low profile and sometimes doesn't get the appreciation he deserves, but he showed the burning fire of ambition when asked whether he was targeting Henry's record. 

"There's no limit. You have to set yourself goals," observed Giroud. "Let's see when I reach 46, 47 goals."  

It was also a historic night for Eduardo Camavinga. The Rennes starlet became the youngest debutant since 1914 last month with an appearance off the bench against Croatia. 

On Wednesday, Camavinga made history again as he was given his first start in national team color by Didier Deschamps. The youngster duly repaid his coach's trust by delivering an audacious overhead flick for the opener, thus becoming the youngest player to score for France in 106 years. 

Barcelona striker Antoine Griezmann, PSG talisman Kylian Mbappe, and Bayern Munich's Corentin Tolisso were also on the scoresheet, capping off a wonderful outing for France. 

Meanwhile, in Lisbon, Portugal, Cristiano Ronaldo failed to get off the mark with a goal despite a lively performance against Spain in front of about 2,500 home fans in the stands. 

The clash served as a test for Portuguese authorities, as 5 percent of the capacity of the Jose Alvalade Stadium was filled, with attendants sitting apart from each other and sticking to social distancing rules. 

With supporters cheering him on, Ronaldo had a golden chance to break the deadlock just before the hour mark, but the Juventus superstar hit the crossbar with a powerful shot from inside the area.  

Atletico Madrid's Joao Felix, who replaced Ronaldo in the 73rd, nearly notched a later winner at the death but fluffed his lines. 

Before the match, the Spanish football federation (RFEF) announced that Spain and Portugal have signed an agreement to push ahead with their joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup.

Spain hosted in World Cup once in 1982, but Portugal has never staged a World Cup before.

"Few things can generate more hope and anticipation than the opportunity to organize a World Cup, and we can't think of a better companion than Portugal," said RFEF president Luis Rubiales in a statement. 

Elsewhere, Germany midfielder Florian Neuhaus scored on his debut, but Turkey came back three times to earn a 3-3 draw. It was Germany's third stalemate in a row and the third straight time that they have failed to win after taking the lead. 

"I'm disappointed and frustrated. We have had this problem for a while, and the same thing happened in other games," said Germany coach Joachim Low. 

In other games, Croatia won 2-1 away in Switzerland, while Italy thrashed Moldova 6-0. Mexico handed new Netherlands coach Frank de Boer a defeat in his first game in charge as they enjoyed a 1-0 win.

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